Monday, November 14, 2011

Mission Facts

The Mission covers most of the state of New Jersey and a small portion of New York State to the north across the Hudson River.  The President of the Mission is Jay Jeppson, a really solid citizen and very pleasant to be around.  We are going to like him and his wife a lot.

There are nine senior couples in the Mission.  Five of them (Sierer, from St. George; Phillips, from Idaho Falls, Idaho; Carlson, from Boise, Idaho; Webster, from Rexburg, Idaho; and ourselves teach Institute classes for Young Single Adults (YSA) – ages 18 to 30.  In addition, other couples have more specific assignments: Christiansen from Lehi, Utah handle the mission fleet of 70+ cars and other office duties; Butterfield, from Pocatello, Idaho coordinate about 40 apartments and furnishings in the southern part of the Mission; Anderson, do the same for the northern part of the Mission; Packers handle finances and other office duties.  Usually couples are assigned to a small branch of the Church to help train local leaders in Church administration, etc.  The Carlson couple is also assigned to coordinate the Pathway program which allows YSAs to do an on-line course of study with BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) leading to a professional certificate, an associates degree or a bachelors degree.  We are looking into the possibility of expanding this program to our part of the Mission.  Many of the YSAs need better jobs and training is one of the best ways to improve their possibilities.  Hopefully, we will have more on that later.

There are about 140 young missionaries here.  The number ebbs and flows as new missionaries leave and those who have completed their 24 or 18 month stints head for home and the rest of their lives.  Most teach in English, but more than a third teach in Spanish and a handful teaches in Portuguese.  Their job one is to find people who are interested in learning more about the Church and teaching them with the idea that they will (hopefully) convert to the Church.  For the past few years this mission has registered about 400 converts per year.  Not nearly as good as Latin America and Africa but far better than most European missions.

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